How to set up soil for outdoor cannabis cultivation
Are you planning to grow cannabis plants directly in the ground ? Then we have a guide on how to prepare the soil in your garden bed so that your cannabis plants have the best possible conditions to thrive.
Properly selected and prepared soil is very important for cannabis plants, as it contains very important part – the roots. The soil must be physically and chemically as good as possible so that the cannabis plants do not suffer from elemental deficiencies and diseases.
Preparing the soil for cannabis plants in the garden
The soil near the root system of the cannabis plant must be of the same quality as the potting mix. Underestimating the importance of good soil in your garden usually pays off.
There are two ways to prepare the growing site:
- Use existing soil – if you already have a growing site, for example for vegetables, with relatively suitable soil, then add compost and aerating particles directly into the soil, at least to a depth of 50 cm and then mix it as much as you can.
- Replacing the soil at the growing site – Dig holes at least 50cm in diameter and depth in the planting site and then fill the hole with the prepared soil mix. The larger and deeper the hole, the more vigorous the cannabis plants will be and the larger strains will be able to reach their maximum potential. We’ll talk about the principles of preparing your own soil mix for cannabis plants below.
Soil rich in nutrients in its natural form is the perfect start for a cannabis plant.
The soil for cannabis plants needs to be rich in nitrogen and potassium so that you don’t have to worry about fertilising at the beginning of the growing phase and avoid the risk of burning your cannabis plants by over-fertilising. The ideal solution is to add, for example, compost and guano to the soil mix.
Cannabis plant roots need air, they love it
Always ensure that your soil mix is well aerated. The soil should definitely not form a hard crust on the surface after watering. It should be beautifully fluffy even after many waterings. However, be careful not to add too many aerating inert elements such as perlite and expanded clay, as the more you add, the less nutritive the soil will be (which can of course be solved by fertilising).Too much aeration has a negative effect on the soil’s ability to retain water, so more frequent watering is needed. Do not exceed 1/2 the volume of the soil mix.
Use of special substrate premixes
Quality soil premixes are very expensive, but in case you don’t feel like making your own mix, for example, it’s a good idea. Of course, it is not necessary to replace the soil in the growing site every year. Once the soil has the right physical properties (airiness, water holding capacity), then it is enough to renew the chemical properties with compost, guano, vermicompost, peat etc.. It is best to carry out such revitalisation in autumn before the soil freezes. Special soil premixes are available in specialized cannabis grow shops.
What about guerrilla cannabis cultivation?
For outdoor “guerrilla” cannabis growing it is always a bit of a challenge to choose the right place with good soil. Guerrilla growing of cannabis means that you grow in a place that doesn’t belong to you and/or the plants must be as invisible as possible. You have to keep in mind the discretion of the place, lenght of direct sunlight (more sunlight is always better)
How to choose a site with good soil for guerrilla cannabis cultivation :
- The soil at the site should be airy and light, or you must mix in some airy medium (e.g. perlite), or replace all the soil with a better one.
- Choose a place with soil where grow wild plants (a hint of fertile soil). Of course you have to remove them (include roots), before cultivation.
- The place should not be too wet (if water condenses on the site, it is unsuitable). Soil should not smell like mushrooms (often in forest). Other plants in the vicinity of the chosen site must be free of pests and diseases.
This will sound strange , but the soil should smell and feel good to the eye and touch. Soil is one of the most controllable factors in outdoor cannabis cultivation, and it’s definitely a good idea to give it plenty of your attention.
Published by Jan Veselý28/11/2022
I use cow manure, which I get for free, to prepare the soil for growing hemp seeds.